Lakhimpur Kheri violence: UP govt agrees to appointment of retired judge to monitor probe

The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday agreed to the Supreme Court’s suggestion for appointing a retired judge to monitor the state SIT probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri incident that took eight lives, including those of four farmers, who were allegedly mowed down by an SUV of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra.

The Supreme Court-bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana posted the matter for Wednesday to announce the name of the retired judge. It also sought names of IPS officers from the UP cadre but not natives of the state by Tuesday to be included into the Special Investigation Team, set up by the state government.

Earlier, the apex court had expressed dissatisfaction over what it said is the “mixing up” of investigation in the cases pertaining to the October 3 incident. “To ensure that evidence…are recorded independently and there is no overlapping and there is no intermixing of the evidences, we are trying to appoint a retired judge from a different High Court to monitor the investigation on day-to-day basis…We are not confident…We don’t want judicial commission appointed by your state to continue…” the CJI had said.

The CJI on Monday stated that the bench needs a day’s time to announce the name of the judge to be appointed, adding, “we are considering Rakesh Jain or any other judge. We also need to talk to the judge concerned.”

Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the UP government, agreed to the bench’s suggestion and stated that it may appoint a judge from any state.

The bench further noted, “The other concern is you have to upgrade the task force, they have to be higher officers. “Most officers are in the grade of Sub Inspectors from the Lakhmipur Kheri region,” Justice Surya Kant said.

“Circulate the names (of IPS officers not native to the state) by tomorrow evening so we can incorporate in our order on Wednesday,” the CJI ordered.

The SIT team has so far arrested 13 persons, included Ashish Mishra alias Monu. His bail application will be heard by a court in Lakhimpur Kheri on November 15.

— with inputs from PTI, Live Law

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